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Dam at the Yuribia reservoir: the taps have been turned off. Dam at the Yuribia reservoir: the taps have been turned off.

Water turned off in demand for cash

Community landowners cut water supply to municipalities in southern Veracruz

Details of the murky dealings of former Veracruz governor Javier Duarte keep surfacing since he stepped down almost three months ago.

The latest was revealed early Thursday morning after indigenous community landowners, or ejidatarios, from the municipality of Tatahuicapan took over the Yuribia water reservoir and closed its valves.

The reservoir provides the water supply of over half a million people living in the municipalities of Minatitlán, Cosoleacaque and Coatzacoalcos in the southern part of the state.

The new governor told a press conference that the ejidatarios were demanding a monthly payment of 2.5 million pesos that the Duarte administration had agreed to give them in exchange for water.

Miguel Ángel Yunes explained that Duarte yielded before the demands and threats made by ejido leader Lino González and approved the monthly payment and an agreement between the landowners and representatives of the state government was formally signed on December 28, 2014.

Since then, González and his people have received 60 million pesos.

Yunes declared that his administration would not give in to what he called blackmail by the ejido leaders, and that formal complaints had already been filed against González and several of his relatives, who were revealed to be on the payroll of the Coatzacoalcos Water Commission without performing any duties there.

That commission was under the direction of Duarte’s father-in-law, Antonio Macías Yazegey.

“I pledge my word to the people that I will solve this problem, enforcing the law against the provocateurs,” the governor said.

The dispute has been going on for more than 30 years. The landowners turned off the valves two years ago when they claimed the state had not honored its commitments to them.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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